Tag Archive for Small Beer Press

Podcasting, Baby!

My internship with Small Beer Press continues. I have actually reached podcast number eight. This is the first podcast introduction where I actually talk about myself (just a little tiny bit). I listened to Starship Sofa for the first time a few weeks ago and suddenly realized it’s okay. I can acknowledge that I actually exist, that I have a life and opinions and, yes, even germs, when introducing the show.

In other news, I’m a tender morsel of bruise at the moment. As usual I have too much going on: podcasting, editing of stories and novellas and multiple critique groups along with work and children and my ever suffering spouse. My supposedly tough-leather ego has thinned to the papery-thin texture of a ninety-three year old.  Naw, I lie. I’ve never been leather tough, but on good days I actually come close to callused. Not now. My ability to deflect the negative (otherwise known as whistling in the ol’ wind) has dropped precipitously. It’s just too damn windy out there. Tornado watch conditions. Ugh. As a result everything has slowed to a crawl. Can’t wait to get over it all ready and move back to that sunny place.

Visibly Silent

Where the hell have I been? GroupGrok.com, where I blog with some fabulous writing friends, and my own StillWingingIt.com are like sleeping crickets at the moment. It seems I can’t even be bothered to rub my own legs together and generate a line or two of music.

See, it’s busy times elsewhere in my life. Despite my quiet demeanor, it seems I am more like my five year old than a handshake and a quick conversation would lead you to believe. I am a woman of enthusiams. My current enthusiams along with a half-dozen unbreakable commitments, such as work, children and sleep, have led to my current virtual lag. A quick rundown? Of course. I’d be happy to share…

The Fiction of Others:

In the last few months I have discovered the fiction of Benjamin Rosenbaum, the existence of World Read Aloud Day and entered into two separate critique group “experiments.” Working with great writers makes me better (Well, as a writer anyway). I’ve started sharing with some damn fine people: C. Liddle, Jennifer Abeles, Michael J DeLuca, Ian Withrow, and Adam Gallardo. As long as they’re willing to keep me around, I’ll happily cringe while they point out all the crap I try to get away and explain why I just need to stop that shit.

Writing Group Hint: Always start your critique with the phrase “in the current draft.” It gives the author a kick in the butt to rewrite and actually finish the story. It also gives the critiquer license to point out all those flaws a tenderhearted, creative type would prefer to ignore. Of course the baby already has ten toes and ten fingers. How the hell could anyone miss them all?

Other Enthusiams of the Moment:

I’m still podcasting for Small Beer Press. In fact my latest podcast just went up last night. You can check out all of my podcasts on the Small Beer site. You can even subscribe on iTunes. This week’s podcast is all about how I learned to like beer. Well, okay, not really. It’s about Maureen McHugh’s “The Naturalist,” zombie plans and, yes, beer. Thanks to my current podcasting duties, I have learned that I like Mexican ryes and the devil’s own aged brew, Mephistopheles’ Stout.

There’s even actually writing going on (of the non-podcasting variety). I’ve finished a draft of my novella, “The Rampant” and I’m currently writing my M.F.A. thesis. In fact, the first draft is due this weekend. Really. No doubt the reason I’m writing this blog post. Finishing that last page of my preface feels rather like a dental cleaning. You feel like a baby. After all it’s not really all that bad. No drills. No extractions. No shots of any kind. Still, you just can’t stand it. At least I can’t. Thankfully, by the end of the weekend the essay will be out to my thesis adviser and I can move on to editing my unicorn-slaughter love story. Good times.

My next plan is to start posting my submission stats. That, however, will have to wait until I finish the thesis. Soon, my friends, soon. Meanwhile checkout the podcast or just the beer, and send me a line if you think there’s a beer that goes perfectly with particular brand of fiction. I am interested.

 

 

 

Listeners Welcome: In Which I Read “Death’s Shed” by J.M. McDermott

I can’t believe how many times I recorded this story. So many, in fact, that my four year old started repeating the phrase “Death’s Shed” whenever he found me in front of my laptop. The two just things just naturally went together. This was actually the first piece I attempted to podcast. Now, finally, I have a finished recording. It even has an intro and everything.

It’s up on the Small Beer Press web site, my second in the Small Beer podcasting series.  You can subscribe to the series via iTunes.  I just knew something was wrong when my first episode failed to show up in the iTunes feed.  It took a few hours, yesterday, to figure out the obvious: I’d included spaces in my MP3 file names.  A big no-no as it turns out. Who knew? Clearly not me…

Next week’s podcast is already recorded.  Mike DeLuca was a great. I had a lot of fun hanging out with him while we recorded the interview.  Though…I’ve managed to avoid editing the track for the last two weeks.  Now the walls are burning (figuratively) as the clock counts down to next Thursday.  I need to get it done.  But first I need to work on some of my own fiction. Unbelievably, I have a writing deadline later today and the work still isn’t quite finished.  What the heck am I doing blogging?  What I always do, trusting that panic will drive me to end.

 

Listeners Welcome: An Interview with Delia Sherman

Delia Sherman and I chat about her novel, The Freedom Maze, her family history and why it took over eighteen years to get this particular book published.  Actually we chatted about a month ago, but all that technical stuff takes a little time.  Finally, the interview is up.  It’s the very first episode in my Small Beer Press podcasting series and the very first podcast I’m filing under Listeners Welcome.  I have to say I am very excited, though I suppose that could be the daily dose of caffeine I’m currently consuming. Nah.  This really is the biggest of thrills.  Delia was one wonderful interview.

 

Delia Sherman Discusses Her Latest Book, The Freedom Maze with Julie Day of Small Beer Press.

I interviewed Delia in the Small Beer Press offices with Ellen Kushner listening in and even snapping a few pictures.  If you look closely, you might notice the plastic container sitting in the middle of the table (Ellen’s idea). I was a little nervous about recording my first interview ever.  We decided to make the pink-capped Japanese cookie container my audience.  While recording, I was speaking to that little plastic girl and no one else.  Turns out there’s nothing like a plastic girl wearing a pink cap to put me at my ease.

The Freedom Maze  is being published by Small Beer Press.  You can pre-order the book now on the Small Beer Press website.  Tune in for my next podcast.  Listeners are always welcome.

The Autumn Blues: GroupGrok and Other Mistresses

I’m currently experiencing Silver Medalist Syndrome. I just receive a wonderfully complimentary personal rejection from the Missouri Review.  Lots of lovely words were followed by the word “no.” A year ago I would have been thrilled, now it makes me head for the hot cocoa. Over the last few months, along with the slew of form rejections, I’ve received a handful of “almosts” and an acceptance of an old flash piece to a magazine whose Fall 2011 issue seems just a little overdue.

Why haven’t I been blogging? I’m sure that’s the question early mornings at the Kuerig coffee machine. A list of important things I’ve been doing instead.

  • Utilizing our new Netflix streaming to watch Dr. Who until eleven at night (after tucking the kids into bed).
  • Obsessively playing with noise levels and sibilance issues on my soon-to-be-launched Small Beer Press podcasts.
  • Working and reworking GroupGrok.com for its launch next month.  Yes, this new site is one bitch of a mistress.  Mostly because I haven’t done web work in years and it’s, well, “changed” in the intervening years.  Plus it doesn’t help that it’s a shoestring and bubblegum endeavor.  What the hell is with this browser-based editing?  I want my pro tools back.I’m going to be blogging with four writing friends.  I am amazingly thrilled that all of them want to do this.  So of course it makes all the sense in the world to spend my time on a project that has no school, work or internship related deadline.
  • The final time suck? Thinking about work stuff.  You know, my actual day job.  It’s been feeling decidedly neglected and is demanding its full share and some until I once again prove my love.
Daily writing just doesn’t stand a chance at the moment and I really resent it. I love my family and I chose my family, but the thing about families (if you love them) is that you can’t ignore their needs just because everyone else is breathing down your neck.  I need my little cadre.  I even enjoy their company.  They make me inordinately happy. In return, they need my time.  So it goes.

Avoidance and obsession.  My writing is lagging and I can’t help but wonder if the reason that I’m adding yet another spinning plate with the whole GroupGrok.com thing is that my mental space is already overrun. Actual creative work is nothing but a visit to the Head Bangers’ Ball, so why not increase the noise?   Until the floodgates finally have the space to open at least I can do something constructive in the the writing “arena.”

GroupGrok.com and the Small Beer Press podcasts are going to be amazing. Really and truly.  I feel so lucky to be involved with both projects, but the caterpillar babies, the Rampant and that parade of skeletons also need my attention.  The dead, despite what everyone thinks, don’t have all the time in the world.  Their stories move forward just like those here on earth. My one and only job is to listen.